Trump campaign sues as Biden widens lead

Joe BIden set to become the 46th president of the United States of America

Donald Trump’s campaign has filed a series of lawsuits this week in an effort to try and drag out vote counting and create a cloud of uncertainty over an election he is on the verge of losing.

With millions of votes waiting to be counted in the US presidential election, Donald Trump has effectively threatened to sue his way to re-election.However, at this moment, there is no evidence the campaign’s legal challenges will have a bearing on the election result under the law.

Mr Trump has attempted, without evidence, to sow doubt about the validity of ballots counted after election day and cast by mail. Counting ballots after election day is a legal, normal practice in a number of states.

The president has made unfounded assertions of victory and allegations of voter fraud, accusing Democrats of trying to "steal" the election.

Post-election litigation is normal. Lawsuits are always filed on election day and the days after in response to issues such as equipment malfunctions, printing errors and polls not opening on time.

Usually, they receive little attention. This year, they are under more intense scrutiny because the president has spent the year making frequent, baseless claims about election fraud.

In response to the legal actions, Biden said: “Now every vote must be counted. No one is going to take our democracy away from us, not now, not ever. America has come too far.”

Meanwhile, vote counting is still going on in crucial battleground states that will decide the election. Projected wins in the Rust Belt states of Michigan and Wisconsin could help Mr Biden edge closer to victory.

The campaign also announced it was suing to halt vote-counting in Michigan – which the Associated Press called for Biden – Pennsylvania and Georgia and that it would request a recount in Wisconsin, which the AP also called for Biden.

The Wisconsin recount is also unlikely to fall in the Trump campaign’s favour. Biden was more than

20,000 votes ahead of Trump and statewide recounts in elections from 2000 to 2015 resulted in an average margin swing of 282 votes, according to FairVote.

So far, the legal battle is not going well. The Trump campaign lost two suits on Thursday in Michigan and Georgia.

“They all seem to have no merit whatsoever,” said Joshua Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky who focuses on elections.

On Wednesday, supreme court justice Samuel Alito ordered elections officials in Pennsylvania to segregate and tally late-arriving ballots separately, after state Republicans asked the court to halt the counting of mail-in ballots received post-election day.

It marked the first time the supreme court has weighed in on a matter affecting the presidential race, however Alito’s order is not particularly consequential, as it essentially tells Pennsylvania officials to do what the state had already asked them to do.

Overall turnout in Tuesday's election is projected to be the highest in 120 years at 66.9%, according to the US Election Project.

Mr Biden had the support of 70.5 million voters, the most won by any presidential candidate ever. Mr Trump has pulled in 67.2 million votes, four million more than he gained in 2016.

The bitter election race was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, which hit a new record high of 103,000 daily cases in the US on Wednesday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

Mr Biden has 253 Electoral College votes, giving him the edge in the race to accumulate the 270 needed to win the White House. Mr Trump has 214.

In the US election, voters decide state-level contests rather than a single, national one. Each US state gets a certain number of electoral college votes partly based on its population, with a total of 538 up for grabs.

Bob Bauer, a Biden campaign lawyer, said that the lawsuits the Trump campaign has filed against the counting of votes "don't have merit".

"It is to create an opportunity for them to message falsely about what's taking place in the electoral process," Mr Bauer said.

Despite lack of evidence, the messaging has attracted Trump supporters, who have been showing up to demonstrations at election centres across the country.

It is possible, but unlikely that one of the new legal challenges his campaign filed could end up in the supreme court. However, that case would have to be tried in a lower court, then appealed to the nation’s highest court, which would have to accept it.